Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara

Dior DiorShow Extase Mascara ($28.00) is the latest variation on the famous Dior DiorShow Mascara. It seems like it’s exclusively available at Sephora for the time being, and Sephora describes the new mascara as:

DiorShow Extase provides built-in treatment benefits and high-impact lashes in a single stroke! The spherical-shaped Black Pearl Pigments create a 3D volume effect and the exclusive Metamorphosis Powders expand in size by up to 50% after application. Also, SR38 Patented Ceramid brings additional care, reconstructing damaged lashes and promoting stronger and fuller lashes. The Extase mascara features a “Tiered Brush” that is inspired by the “tiered” couture dresses created by the House of Dior. The brush is designed for performance and contains an Exclusive Duo of Fibers: The Black Elastomer Fibers brush out and define the lashes for panoramic fringe and the Gold Nylon Fibers hold and deposit formula, generously coating each lash for outstanding volume.

Whenever I review a mascara, I look to see what exactly the mascara is claiming to do, because I find that like some anti-aging products, mascara is a product type that is often more marketing than results.   Extase is designed to volumize and thicken lashes while defining them.

Extase delivers length best – it’s exceptionally good at providing you with instantly longer lashes, even with just one light coat of the mascara. That’s really the part that I noticed first. It adds some volume, but I wouldn’t label this a volumizing mascara. My lashes really looked longer, but not so feathery (as my lashes tend to look with a more volumizing mascara). As far as thickening goes, it thickens well for a such a multi-tasking mascara. I think what stands out about this mascara is the lengthening aspect of it; everything else is decent, but it’s hard to separate the volume, thickness, etc. from the dramatic increase in length. The color of the mascara is definitely a deep black; I’d say Chanel Exceptionnel and MAC Plushlash are slightly richer, but they’re all in the same ballpark. I don’t have any issues with the pigmentation–it’s black enough for me.

It does a good job of defining lashes, but to a point, because the mascara will clump up on you if you’re not careful. The brush often has excess mascara on it, so removing excess certainly helps, and you can get a good two or three coats of mascara with very minimal clumping. I always recommend using a mascara comb regardless of the mascara you’re using, just because it helps separate and define lashes. I wouldn’t say this is perfectly clump-free, but I’d say it’s a relatively clump-free mascara. If you like to get multiple coats on, just follow my aforementioned tips for a better application.

I’ve been wearing Extase for over a week now, so you can see it used in a variety of looks here in addition to the comparison photos included in the review.  The original DiorShow gave me good length, some thickening and volumizing, and looked good overall, but it flaked and smudged on me within an hour, so it was a no-go. I am so pleased to report that Extase doesn’t flake, budge, or smudge at all, even with twelve hours of wear. It also holds a curl like nobody’s business!

The brush has a sort of “swirled” look to it, and even though they mentioned black and gold fibers, it all looked black to me, so it was difficult to assess that particular aspect of it. The brush didn’t seem too large, though it felt a little long. It takes an application or two to find the right method for application, but it didn’t require much thought or effort to get good results.

OVERALL, I did enjoy the way Dior DiorShow Extase made my lashes look. It’s particularly lovely for lengthening lashes, even the stubbier ones I have on the outer lash line, and does a decent job everywhere else to make it one of the better multi-tasking mascaras I’ve tried. I’d say it’s very comparable to Chanel Exceptionnel but clumps less (but doesn’t thicken as well).  Extase is also priced higher than Dior’s other mascaras at $28, so it’s not the most affordable mascara you’ll come across.  Just for reference, DiorShow is $24 and DiorShow Iconic is $27.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like DiorShow and want more length, you may enjoy Extase.

Availability: Sephora

See more photos and comparisons… Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC Chamomile Eyeshadow

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Eyeshadows

Four brown-hued shades of eyeshadow debuted in the Warm & Cozy Collection. On my skin (probably around NC20 for the underside of my arm — which is where I do swatches), they were all fairly faint. You can see the color, but they’re obviously not ultra rich in pigmentation. I don’t think that makes them bad necessarily, they’re just softer shades and definitely should be used in conjunction with a base (e.g. Cuddle shadestick).

  • Chamomile is a pigmented light beige. Surprisingly, this was one of the more pigmented shades of the four. It would make an excellent all-over-lid shade or a highlighter. It’s like a beige-y version of Blanc Type.
  • Modelette is a softly shimmered medium brown. It’s decently pigmented, but it’s not at all intense (just to be sure).
  • Mulled Cider is a medium-dark red-tinged brown. It reminds me of a satin-finish Folie or Swiss Chocolate (and sheerer).
  • Embark is a dark, red-based brown with a matte finish. It swatches like garbage, and I really couldn’t tell you why. This is definitely one of those looks-better-in-use shades, though (I’ve owned Embark forever!).

MAC has a whole slew of amazing neutral eyeshadows in their permanent line-up. I don’t know if these would be the first browns I’d go-to, to be honest. I’d probably just check out their permanent range, because there really are some incredible shades available. (You can see my eight must-have MAC neutrals here.)

See more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC Shadesticks:
Relaxed, Warm & Cozy, Nurture, Cuddle

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Shadesticks

MAC is definitely bringing back shadesticks with a vengeance, don’t you think? With five limited edition shades from Sugarsweet and four new (but still limited edition) shades from Warm & Cozy, it makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing more of these in 2010.

  • Relaxed is a deep, chocolate bronze with a soft frost finish. It has the least frosty finish out of the four, but it’s still noticeably shimmery and has that frost edge associated with frost textures. I thought this was the most pigmented and smoothest of the bunch as well.
  • Warm & Cozy is a burnt copper shade with sparkly glitter particles. I actually felt like this had a very chunky, gritty texture–it wasn’t a winner for me. Shadesticks should be smooth, and I didn’t find that this one was nearly as smooth as I’d expect. It felt like a lustre eyeshadow almost, with the way the glitter flecks were so obvious.
  • Nurture is a pink champagne with a neutral feel. It’s not a bright, nor pastel, pink and it looks very fleshy-pink-beige in a way. It has the same frost finish appearance as the other shadesticks in the launch.
  • Cuddle is a frosty white-gold with yellow daffodil feel. It definitely has a frost finish, and since it is so light, yet covers well, it would make an excellent base as well.

See more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Cream/Gel Eyeliner Breakdown

Cream/gel eyeliners are usually thick creams (the consistency of a cream, but the thickness of more like a paste… or a lipstick, for a better beauty reference!). They usually require a brush to apply it, and most use these on the upper lash line (they can be irritating on the lower lash line, particularly for those with more sensitive eyes). They’re a very, very popular item with numerous brands having their own take on the cream/gel eyeliner product type.

At the end of the day, they’re all quality cream/gel eyeliners and none are not worth paying for. As with many cosmetic products, some will work better on others–we’re not all going to fall in love with the same formula–but I do think these are all good picks. Personally, I tend to choose by the color/shade rather than the brand! If I had to give you a top three (in alphabetical order), they would be: Bobbi Brown, MAC, and shu uemura.

Here’s a comparison across eight different brands and their cream/gel eyeliners… Continue reading →

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel Collection

Chanel Les Impressions de Chanel: Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel’s Kaska Beige Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00) from Les Impressions de Chanel Collection is my very favorite piece from the collection.

When it comes to eyeshadows, Chanel and I don’t always get along; it’s always very hit or miss. (I find I’m a much, much bigger fan of Chanel’s lipglosses and lipsticks… hello, Dragon anyone?) Their Bird of Paradise eyeshadow quad from holiday was nice, but it didn’t quite hit the spot; we all know how I loathed their Les Folie Noirs eyeshadow quad. Even though some quads have been nice, I haven’t seen greatness since Beiges de Chanel.

Beiges de Chanel still wins over Kaska Beige, but the two are very close in terms of versatility, usability, and overall quality. Not everything that’s exciting has to include bold and bright shades, and Kaska Beige proves this with its subtle, neutral shades. It includes a soft fleshy beige with a matte finish that’s neither chalky nor dusty; a medium-dark chocolate brown with a slight reddish undertone and a matte finish; a lightly shimmered deeper chocolate brown with a copper sheen and red undertone; and a neutral-cool tanned brown with gold shimmer.

All four shades are very smooth, soft, and silky. Each one is pigmented without being too intense–they’re easy to use and coordinate with each other. I love that the fleshy beige shade can be used on the lid or as a highlighter.

I’ll definitely be doing a look with this soon, so you can see it in action, but ’til then, hopefully swatches can win you over in the meanwhile!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For soft, smooth eyeshadows in a very neutral, easy-to-use, and classic color scheme, Chanel has you covered this spring.

Availability: January 2010

See more photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Friday, December 18th, 2009


MAC Love Lace Collection: Eyes

Today, MAC released Love Lace–a week early (it was originally slated for release on the 26th–but my freestanding store confirmed that Warm & Cozy was still launching the 26th). It’s a short ‘n sweet launch, with just two lipsticks, two lipglasses, four eyeshadows, three kohl powers, one nail lacquer, and then a few repromotes of permanent items. It reminds me a bit of last year’s Chill Collection.

I’m going to focus on reviewing the four eyeshadows and three kohl powers in this post, with a follow-up post on the lipsticks and lipglasses, and a final post on the nail lacquer–so stay tuned!

Eyeshadow

  • Love Lace is a dusty darkened blue with a slightly shimmered finish (it is a veluxe pearl, after all) with a very smooth, soft feel. It’s decently pigmented. This reminded me of a more muted Deep Truth kind of shade.
  • Suave Intentions is an icy cool-toned medium blue with icy silver shimmer and sheen. If you had to, you might consider duping this with Tilt (which is a little more teal). This was the most pigmented shade of the four.
  • Pincurl is a mauvey-gray with icy pink shimmer and sheen. It’s a repromote from Blonde, Brunette, and Redhead. It has a sort of dusty look to it.
  • Hypnotizing is a darkened, smoked out mauve-plum with a touch of brown.

Kohl Power

  • Feline is an intense black.
  • Raven is a deep burgundy with black pearl.
  • Sense of Style is a darkened blue-teal with blue and teal shimmer. It’s much bluer than Mystery kohl power.

See more photos and swatches… Continue reading →